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TF2 Blog

Andy Warhol once said, "In the future, anybody who wants fifteen minutes of fame has to fight me for it." Brave words from a man who was pummeled to death seconds later by Matt Damon. Luckily, with fame-bully Warhol out of the way, people can now be famous for as long as they want. We decided to start small with a 15-second commercial starring the TF2 mercs, which will appear this Sunday at midnight during the Venture Bros. premiere on Adult Swim.


TF2 Blog
United Gaming Clans are starting up their Highlander and 6v6 leagues in preparation for their Summer Fun season. The first week of matches begin June 10 and 12. UGC has divisions in North America, South America, and Europe for both formats. They've also recently added a Highlander division in Asia and Australia/New Zealand.



Players from any of these regions are encouraged to sign up and join the fun! In fact, it's looking to be a record breaking season in terms of team signups in the Highlander division with over 580 teams signed up so far! Last day to sign up is June 15. Visit the UGC website for specifics.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Bargain?It’s another instalment of our Twenty Bucks series, where we unscientifically hunt around in free-to-play games and find out what it really costs. Hooray! This time Craig tries to spend money in Team Fortress 2, where paid-for things will often drop on your head, but hats will often not. Here is one Buck with Twenty Bucks. > (more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Xbox One: Three ways it could affect PC gaming">Photo by Stephen Brashear/Invision for XBOX/AP Images



Photo by Stephen Brashear/Invision for XBOX/AP Images



Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal this morning didn’t present any immediate or obvious implications for Our Dear Hobby. Conspicuously few games were shown during the debut of a new video game console, and no games were demonstrated live. Microsoft mostly spoke about the new utilities (Skype!), partnerships (NFL!), and living room takeover (Kinect!) we’ll expect from the Xbox One when it releases this year. From a technical perspective, 8 GB of RAM is the only concrete hardware spec Microsoft dropped.



Our response around the office to the presentation was an uncynical but collective shrug. The modest amount of information Microsoft let out gives us little to react to as PC gamers, as Microsoft spent so little of the precious hour that it held the attention of the internet showing us what kinds of gaming experiences we could expect to have on its new system. Those will be revealed next month at what should be a memorable E3.



Still, we’re interested in thinking about how Microsoft’s decisions could have a direct or indirect impact on PC gaming, something that has happened before. Microsoft used the talents of Age of Empires creator Ensemble Studios to produce a console-exclusive RTS (Halo Wars) and a cancelled Halo MMO. The MechWarrior license lingered in limbo until recently, in our opinion, because Microsoft wasn't sure if it could make a profitable mech game on Xbox. Microsoft’s attempt at extending Xbox to the Windows platform birthed the disastrous Games For Windows LIVE, a service so frustrating that it was newsworthy when developers told us they weren't using it.



Based on what we know and a little bit of crystal ball-gazing, here’s three possible ways PC gaming could be affected by the release of the Xbox One.



Exclusive games

 





Microsoft announced that the Xbox One will get 15 exclusive games in its first year, including eight new franchises. One of those exclusives may be a new Remedy game, Quantum Break, which appears to cross-over with a live-action show.



There’s hope, however, that some of these exclusives will sneak onto PC. Over the past console generation, marketers have made the term “exclusive” synonymous with “timed exclusive,” acknowledging the distinction only at the last possible moment. Remedy's Alan Wake, for instance, was eventually ported to PC.



A majority of Xbox 360 games announced as exclusives, however, remain firmly stuck on the platform. We’ve never seen a Forza game or a Gears of War after the first, and Microsoft Game Studios seems to have given up entirely on Halo ports.



The good news is that many of the Xbox 360 exclusives were Kinect titles best suited for the living room anyway, and others, such as Rare’s Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, weren’t games we ever expected to be developed for PC in the first place. Let’s hope it stays that way.



The best-known developers owned by Microsoft are 343 Industries (Halo), Turn 10 (Forza), Lionhead (Fable), and Rare (Banjo-Kazooie). Expect exclusives from them—we already know a new Forza is coming—and a few from its third-party developers, such as Crackdown creators Ruffian Games. Ideally, the games we expect to be multiplatform, such as the first game from Respawn, will stay that way. We'll have a much better picture come E3 next month.



Growth of streaming, new Steam features

 





A casual survey of the web pretty clearly pegs PC gamers as the leading producers of gameplay videos and livestreams, but console gamers may soon catch up. Both Sony and Microsoft now promise that their new consoles will make it easy to capture and share gameplay video, a task which formerly required capture hardware. If streaming is a part of that plan, it could be good news for services like Twitch.tv, which we'd expect to be flooded with new members as the console crowd joins the show.



If that happens, we can also assume that more players will start watching streams, possibly growing eSports awareness and viewership and acting as a catalyst for overall improvements to streaming. That's our loose, foggy prediction, but we do expect some concrete effects—Steam will likely start responding to the features of the Xbox One and PS4, especially with Steam box on its way to directly compete for living rooms. At the very least, integrated video capture and sharing seem very likely. At the most, Steam becomes the same kind of media center Microsoft showed off today, offering much more than games.



Valve has already dabbled in film by offering Indie Game: The Movie for sale on Steam, and recently added non-game software to its catalog. Its most recent major updates have been about expanding community features and giving us more to do in Steam, both in and out of our games. What's next? Our gut feeling is that it'll be significant.



More free-to-play PC games, and they won’t be MOBAs

 





Microsoft didn’t drop the phrase “free-to-play” once during its reveal of Xbox One, but we’d be baffled if free-to-play games don't become a prominent new category on the system. And we’d be more surprised if some of those hypothetical, F2P Xbox One games didn't make their way to PC.



We expect the success of free-to-play as a business model on PC and mobile (in 2011, free-to-play earned more revenue than paid games in the App Store) to create a gold rush within the industry. Plenty of developers have to be eager to become the Riot Games of the console world, to gain a foothold through early adoption rather than reacting to the potential success of the business model on Xbox One.



On the safe assumption that mouse and keyboard won’t be native to the Xbox One, the free-to-play games that propagate on Microsoft’s system will probably be multiplayer action games and low-budget, indie experiments that can be played with a controller: shooters, platformers, puzzle games, action-RPGs, and MMOs. Most of those are portable to PC. Microsoft has already dabbled with F2P a bit with Ascend: New Gods, an unreleased action-RPG, as well as with advertising-supported free games. Our pals at OXM speculated that a free-to-play Fable MMO could be in the works.



This feels like an incredibly safe prediction to us. One or more free-to-play games being part of the Xbox One launch lineup would be a feather in Microsoft’s cap—it’d be a way for early adopters to justify their (probably fairly) expensive purchase, and a novelty to console owners who’ve never played something like League of Legends or PlanetSide 2.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Loadout invites you to create an insane weapon and take it for a spin">Loadout







Upcoming free-to-play multiplayer shooter Loadout released a launch trailer last week to celebrate its arrival on Steam’s Early Access beta testing service. At first, to be honest, I just rolled my eyes. The heavy metal. The dick jokes. The guy dancing Gangnam style. Oy.



But then it started to win me over. Loadout actually looks like it could be a hell of a lot of fun. It’s stupid, but it’s stupid on purpose, and that frees us up to enjoy some great explosions and a very cool gun crafting system.







Loadout joins the pantheon of cartoonishly violent multiplayer shooters already populated by games like Super Monday Night Combat and Team Fortress 2. Where TF2 relies on its hats and cutting humor, though, Loadout’s gameplay hinges on its absurdly customizable weapons, with available combinations numbering in the “billions.”



The comparison to Borderlands’ randomized weapon system are inevitable, so there it is. It’s a lot like Borderlands, right down to the little damage numbers that, in the testing arena at least, fly off of your opponents while they are burning/bleeding/being electrocuted.







Unlike the Borderlands system, you don’t have to rely on the kindness of the game gods for a really great weapon. Just hop into the weapon builder and customize or roll the dice until you come up with something incredible. Here’s a high-capacity flaming shotgun shell sniper rifle with a collapsible stock. There’s a bolt-action heat-seeking rocket launcher that shoots explosions of health, so you can give your entire team first aid from across the map.



The results of the randomized arsenal look fantastic. Fireballs, lightning, and rockets fly across the map causing horrific explosions of cartoon gore. This sheer chaos needs to be experienced, at least just to try it out. It'll be free-to-play at launch, so why not?
Product Update - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added support for VR mode on OSX
  • Fixed a bad material on the HDMI Patch
  • Fixed a server crash on changelevel when the Replay system has been initialized but is not currently running
  • Fixed the Soldier's grenades being hidden when equipping the Full Metal Drill Hat and the Soldier's Sparkplug
  • Removed replay.cfg from depot and added replay_example.cfg to avoid clobbering user’s replay.cfg
TF2 Blog
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:


  • Added support for VR mode on OSX
  • Fixed a bad material on the HDMI Patch
  • Fixed a server crash on changelevel when the Replay system has been initialized but is not currently running
  • Fixed the Soldier's grenades being hidden when equipping the Full Metal Drill Hat and the Soldier's Sparkplug
  • Removed replay.cfg from depot and added replay_example.cfg to avoid clobbering user’s replay.cfg

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Team Fortress 2 has gotten a new, community-created update. The "Robotic Boogaloo" is the first update entirely made by the community, and it features a plethora of new hats for your metal minions.

The official site gives the details. Robotic Boogaloo features 57 new items, with a particular focus on mechanical hats. Similar to the usual updates, it even features a comic and accompanying short, all created by the community. Valve also mentioned in a blog post that all of the creators will be sharing the revenue, not just the hat-makers.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

'Enhancements? For one's head? How unnatural!'

There are nearly as many Team Fortress 2 hats as there are snarky jokes about Team Fortress 2 hats. I see more hats in a day of browsing the Valvier parts of the Internet than I do in a year of going outside. But let’s face it: ours is a hatted man’s world, and so long as there are heads to be ogled and summarily shot, people will clamor for more carnivals of craftsmanship to cover them. You can probably see where I’m going with this. There’s a new Team Fortress 2 update, and it’s entirely> player-created. Also, it’s mostly hats. These, however, are robot hats, and – as the wisest of all Benders taught us – that makes them exponentially more interesting. There’s also a video, comic, and all sorts of other post-update revelry. The break is not a robot, but it will do is best to emulate the experience.

(more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Team Fortress 2 Robotic Boogaloo update adds 57 new items">TF2Robot2



Image by R0B0CITRUS - http://steamcommunity.com/id/RetroCitrus/



Because sometimes you just need more rivets and scrap metal to get the job done. Team Fortress 2's latest content patch Robotic Boogaloo went live today, the first update forged entirely by the Valve shooter's own community. The update includes 57 new items, all of which we're told are totally new and completely non-derivative. The new item set includes some strange and wonderful mechanical hats, at least one of which is a delicious metal hot dog.



The new items are only available from RoboCrates, which can be accessed with the appropriately named, $2.49 tradable RoboCrate key. The RoboCrates themselves become rare drops in the free-to-play game starting June 3, according to the official TF2 website. Also, in what the website reports is a first for game's expansive economy, all content creators who contributed to Robotic Boogaloo will share in the revenue from the sale of RoboCrate keys.



Since we may be halfway to becoming robots ourselves, this new patch seems apropos. For a taste of the new content's eclectic robot style, check out the community-made trailer below or the update's included comic, DEATH OF A SALESBOT.



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